With its Seven5 filter system, the British manufacturer LEE Filters offers all owners of system cameras a tool with which they can further increase their creativity and perhaps take better pictures.
We hope our practical test will clarify whether a high price of around € 510.00 is justified and what you can do with the filters.
Even unpacking the filter set is a pleasure. The base plate of the filter holder is made of aluminum, the frames on which the filters are attached are made of high-quality plastic with a very fine finish. The snap cap that clips the holder onto the adapter ring that connects the lens to the lens has been carefully placed and does its job perfectly. With other filter holder systems, you have to screw in a locking pin and then screw it tight. This works the same, but is both cumbersome and longer and leaves nasty scratches on the adapter rings over time. Several adapter rings in different sizes are available for use with a wide variety of lenses. Special versions are also available for the Fujifilm X100 / s.
The filter holder is not too big and does not take up much space in the camera bag. Another interesting feature is that the polarizing filter is placed right in front of the rectangular filters. This is quickly adjusted with a bayonet lock and locked by turning it clockwise. If you take a closer look at the polarizer, it becomes clear why the set is so expensive. Craftsmanship is first class with the high quality sandwich filter glass.
With a slight resistance, you can turn the polarizing filter and work quickly. The insertion of the ND filter into the grooves of the filter holder requires relatively little effort. This means that the gradient filter can easily be pushed up or down and does not slip under any circumstances. Speaking of pre-assembled graduated filters: The set consists of three different variants, all made of high-quality, crystal-clear, completely flat plastic. By the way, YouTube has an interesting video that explains the manufacturing process of LEE filters.
Since all three graduated filters are “pure” gray filters, they do not produce any negative color effects when recording. Graduated filters in various colors are also available in the extensive LEE range for every need and taste. The 0.6 ND soft gradient filter offers 4 times more exposure extension and has a smooth transition from gray to transparent. 0.6 ND hard differs with a relatively abrupt transition from gray to transparent with the same exposure expansion. 0.9 ND hard absorbs the light 8 times in the part corresponding to the gray area, which increases the exposure time by 3 times.
For example, a freeway with a lot of traffic can be photographed as if it were empty. The top picture was taken at 1/125 of a second, aperture 8, ISO 200. For the lower picture with BIG STOPPER, the exposure time was set to 8 seconds with a 10-fold exposure extension. Both photos were taken in M mode.
The “LEE Seven5” deluxe filter kit is definitely a new impetus for creative photography for photographers and, thanks to its adapter rings, can be used on any lens.